Immigration Reform Update and I-601 Waiver for 3/10-Year Unlawful Presence Bar

The Biden Administration’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 calls for comprehensive immigration reform. One provision seeks to get rid of the 3/10-year unlawful presence bar. 

This would be a major departure from current law, which requires a special waiver for this inadmissibility ground. Immigrant visa applicants who have this bar must first receive an I-601 or I-601A waiver for the visa to be issued.  Nonimmigrant visa applicants with this bar need a 212(d)(3) waiver to be granted a visa. 

To hear more, click HERE for Episode 7 on The Legal Immigrant podcast or find it on Apple Podcasts.

In this episode, I focus on the immigrant waiver for the unlawful presence bar. I discuss the key differences between the I-601 and I-601A waiver, the qualifying relative and extreme hardship requirements, and the factors that USCIS considers in deciding whether to approve or deny the application. 

For more information on the unlawful presence waiver, see:

Whether any immigration reform or changes in the law will eliminate the unlawful presence bar is uncertain. In the meantime, the 3/10-year bar due to accrual of unlawful presence lasting more than 180 days – prior to departing the U.S. – continues to exist. 

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This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Stop Procrastinating and Just Start: The Incrementalist, Episode 6

When you think of the word “procrastination,” what comes to mind? Is it putting things off? Waiting until tomorrow?

Choosing priorities, exercising patience, and planning involve delay. These are smart skills to have.

What’s so bad about procrastinating? Well, it’s not just any delay. It’s really an irrational behavior. It’s when you postpone an important task even though you know you’ll be worse off for doing so.

So how do you stop procrastinating and just start?

It’s a common belief that perfectionism is one of the main causes of procrastination. Does having high standards make it harder to start?  Many of my colleagues in the legal profession, for example, have perfectionist tendencies. Procrastination can get lawyers into trouble. It creates high stress and anxiety, and often leads to subpar work and serious errors.

Rule 1.3 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct states, “A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.” Comment 3 adds, “Perhaps no professional shortcoming is more widely resented than procrastination.”

But as it turns out, there’s no strong link between perfectionism and procrastination, says Dr. Piers Steel. He’s a professor and leading researcher on the science of motivation and procrastination. He’s the author of the book, The Procrastination Equation.

Dr. Steel has a mathematical formula that accounts for motivation and procrastination. It is [Expectancy (E) x Value (V)] divided by [Impulsiveness (I) x Delay (D)] = Motivation

The formula is based on 30 years of research and hundreds of studies. To have more motivation, and less procrastination, you want the numerators (E and V) to be high and the denominators (I & D) to be low. 

In episode 6 of The Incrementalist podcast, I describe 4 ways to stop procrastinating and just start: (1) create success spirals; (2) practice mental contrasting; (3) get super-focused; and (4) set clear goals. Success spirals increase expectancy, mental contrasting raises value, super-focus reduces impulsiveness, and clear goals minimize delay. 

I review Dr. Gabriele Oettingen’s WOOP method for incorporating If-Then statements into your plan for overcoming obstacles. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan. 

I also explain Dr. Tim Pychyl’s theory that procrastination is an emotion management problem, not a time management issue. We procrastinate because we’re thinking about all the things that might happen rather than just starting what we have to do. Procrastination is a coping strategy to deal with negative emotions like frustration and anxiety. It is based on assumptions that the task won’t feel good. 

When we procrastinate, we have less time to complete the project.  We sometimes tell ourselves we work better under pressure. But we just make more errors when we wait until the deadline is tomorrow. 

Whatever you have to do, just start now. 

Resources Cited: 

  • Pierce Steel, The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done
  • Gabriele Oettingen, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation 
  • Timothy A Pychyl, Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change

Cheers,

Dyan Williams

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps

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Finding and Sustaining Flow: Listen to The Incrementalist, Episode 5

How do you make the impossible possible? How do you tackle goals that seem impossible? When you get into the flow state, it’s much easier to learn, grow, create, turn your ideas into action, and bring your dreams into reality.

To move in the desired direction, you need more flow in your life, says Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, renowned psychologist and author of the groundbreaking book, Flow. He defines flow as the optimal experience in which you’re so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. You enjoy it for its own sake and will keep at it even with great cost. Flow is a key ingredient of a meaningful and happy life. 

But amped up flow doesn’t lead to ongoing success. While flow is necessary for peak performance, it’s not enough to sustain it, says Steven Kotler. He’s the author of many neuroscience books, including The Art of Impossible. He’s a peak performance expert and Executive Director of Flow Research Collective. 

In this episode, I review the 5 intrinsic motivators, the 3 tiers of goal-setting, and the 6 levels of grit, and how they all come together to trigger flow.  I also discuss the 9 elements of flow, which means your biology is working for you to perform at your peak. 

You will learn how the flow cycle leads to reliable and repeatable results. Through compound interest, the minutes, hours, days, months and years of focus and effort add up to make the impossible possible.

Resources cited: 

  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
  • Steven Kotler, The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer 

Cheers,

Dyan Williams

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps

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Biden Administration Proposes Immigration Bill to U.S. Congress: The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

On January 20th (day 1 of the Biden Administration), the White House announced it is sending a bill to Congress to reform major parts of the U.S. immigration system.

It includes an earned roadmap for certain undocumented immigrants, Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers to apply for green cards and, eventually, U.S. citizenship. 

Other proposed changes include reducing the backlog in family-based and employment-based immigration; recapturing unused visas; allowing intended immigrants with approved family petitions to join relatives in the U.S. on a temporary basis while they wait for green cards to become available;  and eliminating the 3/10-year unlawful presence bars to re-entry. 

The bill authorizes additional funding to deploy new screening technology at U.S. ports of entry and to address the root causes of migration in the Central American region.

As of the date of this blog post, the bill has not been formally introduced in either the House or the Senate. It will NOT become law unless passed by Congress and signed by the President. 

To hear more about the proposed bill, click HERE for Episode 6 on The Legal Immigrant podcast. And if you want to encourage others to listen to the show, please post a 5-star rating and positive review on Apple Podcasts or other app!

Resource cited:

See also:

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This article provides general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. Each case is unique and even cases that seem similar may have different outcomes. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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How to Prioritize What Matters: Listen to The Incrementalist, Episode 4

If you feel overwhelmed or you’re constantly rescheduling tasks, you are probably overestimating what you can do each day.

Practice Essentialism: do less, but better, so you will have the highest-quality results, with less stress and less friction. And figure out the One Thing you must do now and do that.

With incremental progress daily and weekly, you can create big results with small and consistent actions. Laser-like focus on your core work add up to make a massive difference in all areas of your life.

When we look at a clock – digital or analog – we see the seconds, minutes and hours passing. The day starts and end, regardless of what we do. The clock tells us we have 24 hours in a day.

Of that, we need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep, 1 hour for a lunch break, and a few more hours for daily routines, errands and so on. We have distractions and interruptions. Also, we’re human: our energy and focus ebb and flow throughout the day. 

The maximum time you have for your Most Important Tasks is around 8 hours per day. Your MIT is your core work or your high-value, high-leverage activity. This contributes directly to your success. It helps you create the most important, desired results. 

In this episode, I discuss how to set your priorities, which starts with the Brain Dump, continues with the Priority Matrix (Eisenhower Complex), and ends with blocking time and matching your tasks with your energy and focus levels, your environment, and your circumstances. 

I cover Essentialism, which involves distinguishing the vital few from the trivial many, and making the necessary trade-offs to tackle what truly matters.

I explain why you need to align your actions with your One Thing, which is what you can do, such that by doing it, makes everything else easier or unnecessary. 

Resources Cited: 

  • Greg McKeown – Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less 
  • Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results 

Cheers,
Dyan Williams

P.S. If you like the show and want to help keep it going, please give it a 5-star rating and positive review on Apple Podcasts (from ITunes) or other app! Thank you to all who have expressed their appreciation since the launch. And special shout-out to Graham for the first posted review!

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Dyan Williams is a solo lawyer who practices U.S. immigration law and legal ethics at Dyan Williams Law PLLC. She is also a productivity coach who helps working parents, lawyers, small business owners and other busy people turn their ideas into action, reduce overwhelm, and focus on what truly matters. She is the author of The Incrementalist: A Simple Productivity System to Create Big Results in Small Steps

SUBSCRIBE           CONTACT